But then there are times when I know he or one of the other guards are doing something else that I still feel like I'm being watched. Like now. My guard is sitting over there writing things down in the book he has been reading for the last hour. Not once has he lifted his gaze to see what I'm doing at my desk. I want to close the blinds in my window, but today, I really want the light to come in. I've been in too many dark places.
Instead I stand up and move over to the window. Its not very large, just an opening to allow light and air in. I have to look out and see what is there. I scan every crowd and place now a days. I'm to on edge not to. But there is nothing out of the ordinary out there. But it doesn't feel right. Nothing feels right anymore.
I've lost the man of my life. He was murdered a few months back. My heart still feels as if its breaking. I really don't know how much more of this I can take. I hope there is good news to come when she gets here.
* * *
Lady Faeti walks in with an escort in tow. I'm not the only one who can't go out alone these days. Instead though, the gentleman accompanying her there is out of love and devotion. Not because he's trying to catch a criminal in the act.
I greet both of them and offer them refreshments. He passes on anything and takes a seat next to her with his arm draped casually across her shoulders. Just because he was once dead and rose again to an unlife never swayed her in her feelings. There is so much she knows she is giving up, the prospect of children among other things, it doesn't phase her. She will adopt one day when all things are back to normal.
"I have no good news to share about the investigation." Faeti said to me with a wink. I knew there was something she wanted to tell me but the guard in the room deters her.
"But onto other things... Neko is doing refreshingly over in the Bazin with her mom. They adopted another tiger cub and he's been giving fits to old Belankar!" she continues with a warm smile on her face. So much has changed between us. This lady of distinguishable taste went into a cocoon and came out as a more glittery butterfly than before.
I never once thought I'd see her in a pair of leather pants with an open blouse shirt and vest. I'd like to think some of my taste rubbed off on her and it may have. But she is still forever the Lady with nails immaculately clean and her hair done just right. It doesn't matter that she just crawled of the back of a motorcycle she was riding with her beloved Alefich.
"That is wonderful news!!!" I replied after a drink of my wine. "Is the home almost complete there yet? Dio said the last time she was here that all they had left to do were some finishing touches"
Faeti giggled, "Dio just needs a fuse and some explosive powder in hand and the place is livable to her! I think the only part of the house completely done is her explosive lab that Tia said had to be at least ten trees from the main home. The rest of the house should be livable within the next month or so. Tia and the girls are now camping in the upper most floor"
"I can not wait to see it. I'm ready to be out of this city once and for all. I just don't know when I can leave." I replied. It was honest. I was told I can't leave. But each day that goes by I just wonder, would I be safe if I just left in the middle of the night and went somewhere new where people might not know me?
"You should just take a few weeks off for a vacation of sorts. Everything you've been through, you deserve the time to relax. Plus, you could check out this one site Dio found that is rich with old artifacts and treasures lost in the sea for who knows how long!"
Oh how much that prospect sent my heart to beating. I hadn't been out to a dig in ages. But that would leave me out in the open for who knows what to get me. I smiled at her and tried to change the subject a little, "How has Neko's lessons been going since she inherited all of the family estate?"
The little Sin'dorei had no idea of the hunter she invited into her bed every night. I was just another "pet" to her. She thought I was tame! I answer her calls. I come and go as I like but I always greet her affectionately. She never questions where I'm at when I'm gone for days or weeks on end. Her green eyes just light up when she sees me approaching from the brush.
I wonder, will she be that happy the day I rip her throat out? Will she be surprised? I just can't wait!
But I must. The plan isn't ready yet.
* * *
I sit and stare at the open archway. I can pad my way into that warm and welcoming room if I wanted to. I just don't. My prey has an audience today and this red headed Sin'dorei always looks at me with eyes that feel like they penetrate just to much. She watches me carefully anytime I'm around. Its almost like she knows something is different about me. I heard her talk to Tiati once about me and the hunter spoke of rich magic within the earth that clouded my form and senses. I don't think that other red head likes me either.
My senses aren't clouded. I can smell everything they have done within the past day. I can find them anywhere. I've been watching them all. The Sin'dorei are a waste to the horde. They are just drug addicts and self centered pests. Thrall never should have taken pity on them. The alliance had it right with what they should have done to them.
I can't walk freely in my city without coming across them. They are like aunts in a hive they don't belong in. I want them all out of my lands and Thunderbluff. I'm not the only one with these feelings but we are not the majority. We can't risk to go against Thrall in the open. We've been making plans quietly from the side line.
I can hear and understand what they speak of. They are all gathered around to talk about Banker Daesong's murder charges. Another one was added last night. Slowly but surely everyone in the Al Diel Shala will be dead. Its just a start. Its a wonderful start.
They can plot and plan to fight against us all. They won't win. They don't even know who they are fighting against! I can just feel it. The earth speaks to me and it sings of the days to come. There will not be any Sin'dorei around for this. None at all and that suits me just fine.
With these thoughts I can drift off to sleep in the grass. It wont be long until I can go have fun again. Last night was just.... just... exhilarating...
I watched as the door was closed behind the last customer left my office. It was about time for if I had to stand another minute longer in her company I couldn’t guarantee that my hands would not have found a spot around her neck. I sighed and unlocked the upper most drawer of my desk.
I’d have a few more moments before my next customer would be entering. They wouldn’t mind the smell of alcohol on my breath. I took a few large swallows to steady my nerves.
I haven’t had a good nights rest since leaving the prison a few weeks back. Every dark corner has me nervous when I pass. I’m afraid of shadows. I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of being watched. I’m tired of not knowing who all is watching me.
I closed the lid on my flask and tucked it back in its private compartment. A warm smile covered my face when I went to the door and called in my next customer.
Lady Faeti Morning Glory was always a sight and today was no different. Her golden locks were pulled back demurely from her face into a small braid that went down to the small of her back. There was a faint dusting of black and blue beneath her almond shaped eyes. The gods knew she used powers to try to cover and conceal the blemishes.
The smile she extended was just as real as my own, but it just didn’t reach the usual radiance she always had for people. I didn’t blame her and embraced her as if she was family.
“Good afternoon Lady Morning Glory” I murmured politely.
Her whispered greeting was spoken in the dialect of the trolls.
I scanned the hall and informed my secretary to cancel my next appointment; I’d be out of the office. By the time I turned around to go into my office Fae had already made herself at home in the chaise lounge near the fire place. There was something rigid in her posture that upset me. She wasn’t the same woman she was a few months ago. What all had changed I didn’t know and I wanted to ask.
Instead I closed and locked the door then moved over to take a seat across from her.
“I know what you have to talk to me about isn’t private or you’d have told it to me over drinks last night. What brings you here of all places, today Fae-Fae?”
She lifted her head to stare at me eye to eye. The tears were forming already and I bit my lip. I hated to see a woman or child crying. It was raw emotions best endured in the privacy of home. Seeing her cry could almost make sympathy tears form on my face.
“Shush.. Don’t start that now” I continued leaning forward. We were dressed so differently. She was wearing a dress that showed more skin than even I am comfortable displaying in a shower. Yet she never moved shy or hesitantly, it was always with the grace and confidence of a woman in charge. Whereas I was wearing a pair of solid black slacks, matching dress shoes, a spotless white blouse, with a dark grey vest over it all.
“The sooner you tell me what is wrong Fae-Fae, the sooner I can fix it” I promised and waited to see if she could get control of her emotions.
“I’m not sure you can” she said before hiccupping. Her nails were pristine and painted a soft pastel pink. The color most resembling the inside of a large shell upon the beach. She took out an old stack of parchment that had been folded a few times.
“I found this when cleaning out her personal things...” was all Faeti could tell me before she broke down into large gut wrenching sobs.
I took the papers from her and began reading them immediately. By the sixth line I had an idea of the problem. It was a large problem and I’d probably need to go get some help to flush out all the necessary paperwork. It would only be complicated a bit because the woman this was all in reference to had been literally gun downed in front of a large audience.
I hadn’t been there at the time but the news of it all had run like a wild fire in a dry forest. The wreckage of the Morning Glory house began with the appearance of an outcast from the family. My customer’s aunt, Lady Rhaeclya had entered the grand house within the city and paid the last visit to the head of the house. He was murdered as some said in front of the wait staff.
In my opinion, he had justice served.
He wasn’t the only one to have died that night. I wasn’t there for when his wife met a similar fate by a different family member. The old woman’s fate wasn’t as easy. Instead she spent hours in agony as her grand-daughter took shots at her systematically between the swipes of a few hostile lionesses. Only to be brought back to life by the youngest grand-daughter to go through it all over again.
It was only when the Mistress Eroti was too exhausted to restore life once more to the grandmother did the old woman receive a final rest. Now weeks later, the old woman’s belongings were being gone through and this letter she wrote to explain it all was being read by me.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I could only imagine what the warm hearted Fae had to have thought to know the things being said in this letter directed to her. I scanned the pages to look for a date but none was found. I wondered how many years ago this had been penned in such calm and steady hands.
I looked up to Faeti’s tear stained face and spoke softly, “Weren’t you the one who told Dio that families can be made from anything? We do not have to share the same blood to know and experience the strong connection of love and trust?”
I watched her nod her head to agree before I continued on, “What she wrote won’t change the things that happened in the past. You didn’t cause them and it wasn’t your fault. You were a product of it. You don’t have to do what she asked of you. You can let that secret rest in the grave it’s been in for the last sixty odd years”
Her lower lip quivered as she thought over what I was suggesting.
“I can not lie like that to take over what the family acquired” was all she said to me.
I had so much I wanted to say to her. So much I wanted to point out to her. Instead I sighed deeply and leaned back in my chair to a think it over for a few before finally speaking.
“You were the one who started most of those projects. It’s your kind and gentle heart that led you to create those groups to assist the children’s orphanage, to make those refuges, to provide aid for those in need. You are not lying to gain ill begotten gains or for greed. You are continuing the perceptions created by your grandfather to preserve the rest of the families honor and to spread assistance to more people than just your family. Accept it, so you can provide a promising future to your nieces and their children to come”
I could tell that the prospect of taking care of the family was having the desired effect. A small smile touched her lips when I had mentioned that part.
“Think it over Fae. You have a few more days as the rest of the maters are still being figured out…”
Tikitiki turned her head to the side as she peered up at Zikiziki with the most innocent expression possible upon her face. Then she waited just long enough that she could step closer and wrap the fingers of one hand around one of his wrists before answering the large troll’s question.
“Tikitiki find finger. No idea how finger get to Tikitiki hand. Tikitiki share if Zikiziki hungry.”
She barely stood up past thigh and he more than outweighed her a few times over. Yet she still loved the feeling of her small hand against his muscled flesh even if his wrist was wider across than the palm of her hand.
Generously, the little gnome lifted up the freshly cooked piece of meat in offering to the troll, waiting to see what he might say next.
I could smell them long before I was standing next to them. It brought tears to my eyes and made my nose run. I didn’t want to open my mouth once I was standing face to face with them but I had no other choice. If I wanted to make this quick as possible we’d have to talk so I could get on my merry way.
“Did they make it to you without breaking?” I inquired while looking anywhere but the face before me.
The raspy voice was hard to understand at first. I hate trying to converse with the forsaken. I don’t see why we need to have the corpses running around as if they were alive and had a right to be.
“Ah, yes, thank you for making this batch for me. I’ll see to it they are given to those who will be handing them out.” I had to be nice, because I wanted them to continue doing the work they did.
The jars of perfume were stacked in a box with many little dividers to prevent them from banging into each other and breaking. It would make the transportation of them that much quicker. I held it within two hands and backed away slowly, half listening to what was being told to me.
“Yes. Please make another batch for next month. Thank you!” and then I was off to leave undercity and take the magical means over to Silvermoon City. There was a new Union going strong that wanted donations to give to new travelers. The box in my hand would do quite nicely for them…. who would turn away such a sweet smelling fragrance?
But first… I had to add something to it. If a person or two died over it no one would look at me. Not at all. My name and label was nowhere to be seen on these jars.
Tikitiki watched as Zikiziki left the area to seek a quieter place. She pouted a bit behind her mask at the loss of warmth his presence provided her. She turned and skipped over to here favorite spot, the cooking fires. In fact she was nestled in between the both of them occasionally taking a swipe of the ripe, cooked meat here and there with her dagger. It tasted good. She was within ear shot to hear the rest of the tribe discuss the future for where to live and eat.
One of the more plump trolls came over to shoo her away after she had already swiped a finger. With a glare and some curses Tikitiki turned around only to spot their tribe leader near the fires. Uh oh… She turned and fled the fire to join up with Zikiziki again.
She watched the exchange between his raptor traveling companion and the man she enjoyed being around. The brief moment of affection of the raptor taking a nip at Zikiziki made Tikitiki think of a day that had taken place far to back for her to remember an exact time.
The raptor Honnahiman had been a bit younger than she was now. The creature had been alone the first time Tikitiki saw her wandering about aimlessly or so it seemed. The prime example of meat upon the raptor’s bones had made Tikitiki’s stomach growl in protest of being empty.
She had spent about an hour chasing after the raptor trying to get her tiny little hands on it or a bolt of lighting at the flank for the very least; except the beast had proved to be a marvelous specimen to the dismay of the little gnome.
It was only after her legs and chest had been burning from exhaustion did she stumble over off a large boulder into the lap of Zikiziki. She was young and quiet at first. Weary of him as he looked just like the other trolls in Zul’Aman. Her life there hadn’t been pleasant. It was a nightmare but she had endured.
From that day on she had tried to catch his raptor and eat her. The creature always eluded her. She had tried numerous times to even cook Zikiziki but he always managed to avoid the fire himself and put something else in it that would appease her hunger. Now, many moons later… she enjoyed his company and they were friends. Well as close as two people could be when one was forever trying to cook and eat the other…
A snap of the twig under her foot brought her out of memories past and back to the present. She took off her mask and smiled brightly up at Zikiziki.
The fresh scent of burning wood and various delicacies being roasted among the roaring flames could set any mouth to water. It was certainly having a desired effect on those nearby who were tending to the two large bomb fires. One was shaped in a large circle with old ocean dried logs forming a triangle over the top. Dangling from this make shift spit were various large scorpions and boars; the two native animals to the Durator region that had numerous recipes for them.
The other fire was oddly shaped for those who never visited a cook out as the one taking place that moment. The flames danced eagerly in a span of about two and half feet across and a little over six feet in length. It was almost rectangular shape but that did nothing to prevent those from cooking the main course inside it.
“ey Mon… who we missing ‘night?” asked one of the Iki members of the tribe as he pointed to the fire the trolls were taking their turns to inspect. Every so often a sprinkle of this and that for seasonings was being offered from the various guests to the spirits of the flame for preparation of dinner.
Sikisiki shrugged and peered around the crowd of faces. The skin tones of the trolls varied from shades of green to blue with hair colors as varied as a dozen wild birds in any uninhabited jungle.
“Tikitiki hit raptor trainer in head with little rock. Tikitiki didn’t mean to hurt him too bad but he no move after rock. Tikitiki only wanted raptor to take Tikitiki places but he no give Tikitiki one” came the soft reply of the little gnome bouncing around behind a moving fetish mask.
A large yet gentle hand came down on Tiki’s shoulder as Zikiziki moved closer and squat down besides her. He said something into her ear that only she heard but it was enough for her to giggle wildly and move back closer to his chest and offer a reply.
The answer of who was dinner tonight didn’t seem to shed any tears or cause any grievances. Life was life and it was just as assured to happen as the sea was to come to shore as it did not even twenty feet from their little haven.
“Where be MikiMiki” another troll inquired looking for one of the raving beauties the males could easily admire from a far. She had the curves men dreamed about and made some of the other women green with envy.
“She be coming soon to find a new mate….” started another of the trolls before he was interrupted by some rude gestures of the younger males and their boasts of being the next one to fancy her sheets.
“Hush!! Rikiriki almost here. He tell us where tribe meet meets again for next tribe meet” came the daffy reply of a girl who longed to be like Miki and grew tired of the desired looks the men had when they talked about the other woman. No one seemed to notice that they had just created a tribe meet in order to know where the first tribe meet was.
“Will they let us meet in Durator again?”
“No, no… they don’t want us here no more. They say we eat too much. We must go elsewhere” the answer was not necessarily the truth but with the voice of authority it was for them. There was no question over how much was eaten, rather what was being served.
“We go to Silvermoon City!!! They have plenty of pointed ear fair folk. No one miss a few if they go missing!!!”
“No, no. They to skinny. There is no meat on them…”
“We keep them for a week and fatten them up!!”
“Why our great ancestor Lakilaki tried to have a pointed ear for a month. Feed him ‘every day but no meat stick to bone.”
“No, no..There be no men in pointed ear city. All girls with big hair and no fat. They get males from human city to make little ones.”
“They cry too much. We go to Undercity!!! They have people sleeping in boxes all over the place!!! No one would notice them missing!!!”
“No, No” came a chorus of replies against that idea.
“Undercity has bad meat.”
“No, no.. It moves. Good meat only wiggles before cooking. You no find moving things in meat when it done. That bad meat…”
“Big blue pointed ear city in tree. Many people there!!!”
“They taste good…” responded one troll while groaning and rubbing his stomach in a circle.
“No, no… They all get swords when ‘dey see us coming. ‘Dey no like us to be around to pick good fat ones”
“’ey, ey… We get little people from the machines. Can cook all meat just so none burn too much to cook all!!”
“No, no… they too little. Need many gnomes to feed tribe. Not enough apples for mouths.”
“We go to thunder bluff!!! They ALL big and fat and juicy”
A few groans and grunts was the immediate reply to that for an agreement. “They be really big there. Only need two to feed whole tribe. Who miss two?”
“We tell Rikiriki idea!! Rikiriki will know good place to go find meat”
Little Nekoti yawned sleepily as she continued playing with her dolls. There were no other children playing with her, instead it was her soft little voice as she acted out different voices for each one. Unknown in her innocence that the scene was wrong nor was it being ignored by the one watching her today.
“Your actions make me do this to you” Nekoti said as she moved a doll that had all of her hair cut off to make it boyish. A moment later the movement stopped as a large tawny colored paw came down to swat at the moving object. Claws had never been extended by the lioness when she retrieved the doll as easily as she did to the dismay of the little girl.
“BELLE! Give that back to me!” she demanded but her protests were cut short as her aunt Rhaeclya stepped over to them. A momentary chastise of “No” to the lioness had Belankar roll over to the other side and begin grooming herself in a huff.
Nekoti resumed playing with the doll after Rhae gave it to her only to have her aunt take a seat across from her to ask her who those dolls were. Eagerly, Nekoti began answering every question with names so similar to those in the family but just a little different. When Rhae asked one particular question, Nekoti began crying in earnest saying she couldn’t tell, he told her to not tell or she’d be in very big trouble if she did not keep their secret.
Rhaeclya comforted the child. By the time the tears stopped, little Nekoti was a sleeping angel when her mother and Dioti returned to their makeshift tent out in the Bazin. They were extremely busy in getting a new house built for them outside of Silvermoon City.
Yet neither the bird drifting over head soaring high into the clouds or the rabbit that hopped between flowers was something to be noticed. Her mind took a different path as she sat laying down there in the grass with her chin resting in the palm of her left hand. A band of braided fresh wild flowers held loosely around the wrist with a matching ensemble in her hair.
The day dream was filled with visions of her beloved Elarian, her sweet paladin with glistening armor and always a ready smile upon those kissable lips if only he would turn around to look upon her. Yet when he finally did, his face and body faded out to be that of her childhood friend, the mage who had all along been a warlock. He turned away from her beckoning a hand for her to follow and she did. There was never anything she would not do for him in his life or undeath.
But in this moment he was alive and well. Fae rested her hand on his arm like she always had when he escorted her from place to place. He turned her to face him, lifting her chin up to stare at his face. Another change happened before her eyes to have that charming death knight staring down at her. The one whose mere presence made the butterflies dance within her womb. Even in this little moment of peaceful thoughts of him were enough to wake her, sending her heart a flutter and a heated flush to her cheeks.
Oh how she longed to actually see him again even if for only a moment. Instead, just like her other beloved death knight, they seem to have too many secrets and long periods of time where they must go into places where the real living can not.